Eagle Speedster PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jane Hyde   
Thursday, 13 October 2011 16:50

We drove the first Eagle Speedster back in ’09, but now we have sampled the second ‘lightweight’ generation we want more…

Words: Jim Patten & Pictures: James Lipman/Eagle GB

Argument is futile. If you keep your head in a metaphorical bucket of sand and consider only what the factory might have produced, then we suggest you read no further as our words might lead to offence. If, however, your mind is open to wonderful new thoughts then join us on an automotive fantasy.

Eagle E-types is an interesting place to be, as little if anything passes them by without significant input. The philosophy adopted by Henry Pearman, the founder of the company, is about marketing the very best a standard production E-type can offer. Building on that strength are the detailed restorations of original cars and the high profile lightweight E-type, 86 PJ. Perhaps best known by the general public are the amazing re-engineered Eagle E-types, although it has to be said, these are in limited numbers. So when Eagle produced its own interpretation of what the E-type could
have evolved into, we could expect something special.

The concept
The Speedster’s inception was the result of collaboration between an American client (see JWM November ’09) and the inventiveness of Eagle manager and development engineer Paul Brace. Paul had already been nursing some thoughts of an evolved E-type, but no specific demands were given, just an idea for something different. The results were as beautiful as they were radical. This car, though, was to run with a cast block engine of standard appearance – and that included the SU carbs.

Interest was huge and although the occasional detractor thought the whole thing heresy, most observers were visibly affected by the sheer impact of the shape. Paul didn’t rest either, his agile mind continued to probe deeper, reckoning the next Speedster would be an ideal platform to show just what Eagle is capable of. The shape as signed off on the first project would remain, with a few subtle improvements. Retaining the original XK engine design, the specification would not look out of place on a 21st century new car description.

Sunlight teases out the subtle claret metallic chips in the Speedster’s rich, dark paint

The build
Years of experience have led Eagle to develop and implement the manufacture of specific components, rather than rely on general availability. Its gearboxes have been in production for sometime now but the recent introduction of an all-alloy 4.7-litre engine, developed in conjunction with Crosthwaite & Gardiner offers greater scope. “We wanted to pay homage to the original lightweight E-types, using as much lightweight material as possible with a goal of an all-up weight of 1,000kgs,” stated Paul. Well they got pretty close at 1,008kg – hence the car’s official ‘Lightweight E-type Speedster’ name.

RS Panels once again formed the body, based around the original E-type floorpan and bulkhead measurements but fabricated in aluminium with a seamless finish throughout. Even the petrol flap has lost its finger-hold, using a push-down/release system instead. Inside, the floorpan has been lowered, allowing the seats to be set deeper down in the car, complimenting the low rakish windscreen. This time around wipers would be fitted.

With the newly created shell delivered to Eagle’s workshop, Brace set about the build. There is a lot of E-type still in this car, albeit enhanced and improved. Everything in the engine, though, is examined and often redesigned, built to use modern fuel-injection and individual throttle bodies operated through the latest generation ECU. Power remains very impressive at 325bhp, and with 350lb ft of torque coming in at 3,600rpm it is eminently usable too. Aluminium is also used for the five-speed gearbox and differential casings, offering useful weight loss but retaining the necessary strength.

Thanks to Eagle GB
Website: www.jaguarspeedster.com
Tel: 01825 830966

To read more about this Jaguar see the November 2011 issue of Jaguar World.

Back issues available here.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 November 2011 12:20